Opioid Use, Abuse, Prevention and Treatment:
A Systemic View and Update
Panel Discussion on the impact and treatment of Opioid Addiction in our Region.
“As most people are aware, the opioid crisis has had a devastating impact on our country, state, and region. The number of overdoses in Missouri rose 35% from 2015 to 2016 with most deaths occurring in those aged 25 to 34 year olds. In Missouri, the abuse of opioids rose 137% from 2015 to 2016 with the highest rates found in St. Louis City and St. Louis County. The death toll continues to rise with the abuse of prescription medications and the more recent addition of fentanyl to heroin.
Although media has given attention to the opioid crisis in the U.S., the shortage of treatment options, information, referrals and assistance makes it difficult for many to find solutions. Providing treatment options for the addicts and their loved ones impacted by the disease requires a complex approach. Counseling is the most common modality, and often focuses on mental health issues and trauma as part of effective treatment.
With the rise in opioid and other drug abuse, it has been commonplace for psychotherapy services at every level to address the needs of those impacted by this addiction. Keeping apprised of advancement in treatments for opioid and other addictions, maintaining awareness of treatment options, prevention efforts, and various other community resources is part of good therapy practice.
The impressive group of presenters will provide information and discussion on the most current prevention efforts, treatment, trauma-related issues and real-life impact of opioid substance use/abuse. This will prove to be a very rich discussion on this topic. You won’t want to miss this remarkable group of individuals working on the front lines of this crisis.
The panelists include:
- Gladys Smith, Ph.D., Washington University School of Medicine
- Tim Dalaviras, Ph.D., Aviary Recovery Center
- Jenny Armbruster, National Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse
- Patty and Ellis Fitzwater, parents who lost a child to an overdose
- 6:00 PM - Registration, Networking & Refreshments
- 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM: Session
- 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM - Networking
Dr. Gladys Smith is a licensed Professional Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Master Addiction Counselor, and Registered Yoga Teacher. She is a veteran of the United States Navy, serving 27 years as a Chief Petty Officer (HMC) Hospital Corpsman and Sexual Assault Victims Interventionist, Substance Abuse Counselor, and Trainer. Dr. Smith works at Washington University School of Medicine as a Trauma therapist/ Relationship & Sexual Violence Therapist and has a private practice in Clayton MO. She also teaches Trauma-Focused yoga throughout the St. Louis area. Gladys is also a Certified Trauma Professional and Compassion Fatigue Facilitator.
Dr. Tim Dalaviras is the CEO of the Aviary Recovery Center in Missouri. He has 20+ years of professional experience in addiction, mental health, EAP and healthcare serving in both direct service and leadership. Clinical settings include private practice, hospital settings and free-standing addiction and mental health programs treating teens, adults and families. Dr. Dalaviras has held healthcare leadership positions overseeing daily operations and strategic direction, He worked as a consultant with Fortune 100 companies to devise healthcare strategies, integrative approaches of providing healthcare services to addressing healthcare delivery and improve health care outcomes. He collaborated with St. Louis community organizations, agencies and providers to streamline access to healthcare and improve delivery. He also has contributed to regional boards of healthcare providers and organizations and first responders to identify best practices for addiction, mental health issues and to support their families.
Jenny Armbruster is the Director of Community Services for NCADA in St. Louis. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling and been employed with NCADA for over 10 years. NCADA’s Counseling Program provides substance use assessments, referrals and brief youth counseling. The Prevention Resource Center provides trainings and technical assistance to communities and coalitions. In addition to these areas, Jenny also provides supervision for NCADA’s opioid awareness and naloxone programs. She is a Certified Reciprocal Prevention Specialist and Missouri Associate Alcohol and Drug Counselor.
Patty and Ellis Fitzwalter want to empower others with the knowledge that they have learned throughout their journey for the purpose of prevention and or early intervention of opiate use. They have raised 2 children in the north county area. Their daughter, Casey, now 30, is happily married with a beautiful baby boy, and their son , Michael, who at the age of 22, died from an accidental heroin overdose. Since their son’s death it has been their mission to share their story with the community to educate and spread awareness about the dangers of opiates. Ellis is an electrical technician for Eaton-Bussmann Fuse for 34 years. Patti is retired from the Postal Service as a letter carrier after 33years.